Petra is the astonishing, mesmerizing
rose-red city. Once the stronghold of the Nabataeans,
industrious Arab people who settled in southern Jordan
more than 2000 years ago. Admired then for its refined
culture, massive architecture and ingenious complex of
dams and water channels, Petra is now a UNESCO world
heritage site that enchants visitors from all corners of
the globe. Much of Petra's appeal comes from its
spectacular setting deep inside a narrow desert gorge.
The site is accessed by walking through a kilometer long
chasm (or siq), the walls of which soar 200 meters
upwards. Petra's most famous monument, the Treasury,
appears dramatically at the end of the siq. The towering
facade of the Treasury is only one of myriad
archaeological wonders to be explored at Petra.
Various walks and climbs reveal literally hundreds of
buildings, tombs, baths, funerary halls, temples, arched
gateways, colonnaded streets as well as a 3000 seat open
air amphitheatre, a gigantic first century Monastery and
a modern archaeological museum, all of which can be
explored at leisure. A modest shrine commemorating the
death of Aaron, brother of Moses, was built in the 13th
century high atop mount Aaron in the Sharah range.
Petra is located at a driving distance of about three
hours south of Amman.